Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic Eye Disease

People with diabetes are likely to develop a series of eye problems as a complication of diabetes. These problems can cause difficulty with vision and in the worst case, even lead to blindness. There are different kinds of diabetic eye disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the common eye complication for many people with diabetes. The condition takes place as a result of high blood glucose levels in the retina, the layer of cells at the back of the eye. When these levels are too high, the retina can become damaged and, more often than not, lead to blindness.

Some people with diabetic retinopathy have swollen blood vessels that may occasionally leak fluids. Others have a higher number of blood vessels that grow on the retina’s surface. Diabetic retinopathy usually causes blindness on both eyes.


Cataracts develop when the eye’s lens becomes blurry and clouds. There are three types of cataracts:

  • Sub capsular: occurs at the back of the lens
  • Nuclear: develops in the centre of the lens
  • Cortical: occurs in the lens context (surrounds the central nucleus)

In people with diabetes, cataracts develops at an earlier age.


Glaucoma develops when there is a high amount of pressure in the eye. The pressure (intraocular) damages the optic nerve and can eventually lead to permanent blindness. A person with diabetes is nearly twice as likely to develop glaucoma as other adults.

Preventing diabetic eye disease

At an early stage, people don’t even know that they have diabetic eye problems because symptoms are not very clear yet. People with diabetes however, should not wait for symptoms but have their eyes checked regularly by an eye doctor. Also, monitoring blood glucose levels is important to prevent eye problems from getting worse.